Safeguarding children at risk - prevention and action

 Two girls walking down the street

Running away or going missing can be a sign of child sexual exploitation.

Through our targeted support we aim to help young people exit situations of exploitation, reduce risky behaviour and stop going missing. SCARPA aims to be in contact with young people at least once a week or more if needed. We also help young people to access support services and maintain relationships with other service providers.

Our work is designed to help young people make better choices, develop resilience, reduce missing episodes and reduce risks. It is not 'one size fits all' and we have a number of resources focussing on topical issues including online safety. We also recognise that sometimes young people need time to engage with a trusted worker and we pride ourselves on having a persistent approach.

We provide specialist training courses and one-to-one advice to professionals in social care, schools, foster carers, children’s homes and the wider voluntary sector. These sessions increase understanding in preventing and responding to sexual exploitation.

How we support young people who go missing

We carry out 'return interviews' with children and young people who go missing across the North East.The interview is an in-depth conversation with the child or young person. It provides an opportunity to hear about why they went missing and to understand the risks and issues faced while they were missing. Interviews can uncover information to help protect children from the risk of going missing again, from risks they may have been exposed to while missing or from risk factors in their home.

This work is in partnership with children’s social care, Local Children’s Safeguarding Boards, Missing Sexually Exploited and Trafficked groups and Northumbria Police.

Who is this service available to?

Our targeted support is available to children and young people involved in going missing or at risk of sexual exploitation in Newcastle, North Tyneside, Gateshead. Sunderland, South Tyneside and Northumberland. Our advice is available to all professionals or adults that come into contact with children and young people at risk. Our return interview service is available to Local Children’s Safeguarding Boards, councils and police authorities.

We currently deliver Return Home Interviews in Newcastle.

Since 2015 we have delivered a targeted support service to boys and young men at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.  In 2019, we expanded the scope of this project to include boys and young men who are at risk of Child Criminal Exploitation/County Lines.  We also provide training to professionals in Child Criminal Exploitation and County Lines.

In January 2019 we launch our new “Different Class” project which will work with young people who at risk of, or experiencing educational exclusion.  The project will provide young people with emotional resilience, advocacy and meaningful educational opportunities to support them to reduce the risk of exclusion, maintain their place in mainstream education and maximise their educational outcomes

How to access this service

Referrals for targeted youth support can be made by professionals, parents or by children and young people themselves. SCARPA monitors young people who have been reported missing to the police or referred by other agencies. We meet with the police and social care to prioritise the most at risk young people so we know who to offer a service to.

Our service is very popular and we do not keep an open waiting list. We assess all referrals against recognised criteria for risks of going missing or sexual exploitation, making sure our decisions are fair. We do not exclude any young person because their needs are too high, or too low, but we only offer a service where we think we have a real chance of making a difference to someone’s life.

To discuss making a referral, get in touch with us by phone or email and one of our colleagues will talk you through the process.

If you are a professional seeking one-to-one advice, or want to discuss our training offer and how it can be tailored to your organisation’s needs, please ask for one of our service managers.

Email: SCARPA team


Provincial House
150 Northumberland Street
Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7DQ
United Kingdom
Phone 0191 221 0836
54° 58' 38.2656" N, 1° 36' 48.1104" W